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Coyotes Spotted in Toluca Lake: How to Keep the Wild Animals Away

There's many steps homeowners can take to prevent the wild animals from being attracted to their neighborhood.

A coyote wanders through a Studio City neighborhood. Patch file photo
A coyote wanders through a Studio City neighborhood. Patch file photo

This story was originally published Jan. 11, 2013.

A few of our readers recently said they spotted coyotes in West Toluca Lake, but some lessons I learned from my past job could help keep the wild animals away.

Reader Lisa Pano told Patch on Facebook that she spotted a coyote last Saturday at Kling Street and Bellflower Avenue around 10:30 p.m.

"It looked it had a small animal in its mouth and it ran down Sarah street, when I lost it. This is so very dangerous for our pets and neighbors," she wrote. "In 10 years of living in the area, I have never seen a coyote this far off from the canyons."

Resident John Chapman said he spotted coyotes on Hortense, Sarah, Kling and Blix streets on Sunday and Monday.

Before moving to North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch, I was the editor of Calabasas Patch, a community that reported many coyote encounters due to its proximity to park land and mountains.

Calabasas developed a coyote management plan, which indicated there's many steps people can take to prevent coyotes from roaming their neighborhoods. Here are some of their tips:

  • Keep your cat or small dog indoors at night or any other time when a coyote is known to be in the area 
  • Accompany your small dog in a well lighted area at night for comfort walks
  • Walk your dog on a leash whenever you take it off of your property
  • Confine poultry and rabbits in covered enclosures constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes can break through ordinary chicken wire  
  • Keep all outdoor trash can lids securely fastened to trash containers  
  • Pick backyard fruit as soon as it ripens and keep rotten fruit off the ground

And here's a few dont's:

  • Don't feed wild animals
  • Don't leave pet food outside, particularly at night
  • Don't allow pets to roam from home--especially at night.
  • Don't leave water bowls for pets outdoors
  • Don't leave garbage containers open
  • Don't leave water in birdbaths or bird seed outdoors for songbirds

Click here to read more about Calabasas' coyote management plan.

While in Calabasas, I also met Camila Fox, founder of Project Coyote, who said if someone encounters a coyote, they should be "big, bad and loud."

"[Coyotes] are social pack animals. If they feel that you're the dominant force out there, they will respond accordingly," she said.

Tricks as simple as shaking an empty soda can filled with coins could be enough to scare the wild animals off, Fox said.

In the city of Los Angeles, call (888) 452-7381 for non-lethal assistance.

You can call Los Angeles Animal Services when you spot a coyote, but have relevant information on hand when they call in. (Click here for the checklist.)

Bill Wentz January 11, 2013 at 07:22 PM
From my experience with Coyotes in Santa Clarita, they're pretty skittish. If you stand up tall and put your arms out they'll generally run away from you. Throwing rocks at them helps also. They don't like fair fights and will try to gang up on dogs, running behind them and biting them in the butt/genitals while other coyotes distract them in front of their face. When they run from you they'll howl for other coyotes to back them up. Another tactic they use is to bring a female in heat to try to seduce dogs. This happened to my neighbor, one night he went out in the backyard and found *half* of his dog, the other half had been eaten through their rod iron gate. Coyotes are nowhere as cute as the graphic in this article.
NoHo Native January 12, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Cuteness has nothing to do with it and humans need to realize, there are other non-human animals in the world, in Los Angeles and specifically in the Valley. I don't think it's fair that humans shouldn't be expected to adapt at ALL to this fact. Yes, it's extra responsibility. But if that means keeping an eye on your dog in the yard, never having an outdoor cat (bad idea coyote or not, there's this new-fangled thing called a car that's pretty deadly too) then so be it. I'm sorry for those who have lost pets but it's time that everyone become aware that we aren't the only ones living here.

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